An interview with Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz on their new concert film, Boys Of Zummer Tour: Live In Chicago
If Fall Out Boy hit the stage at Reading & Leeds 2016 with distant grins on their faces, it wasn’t just a blissed-out sense of achievement at hitting the co-headline slot after 15 years and one major hiatus. They were probably still feeling the secondary-inhalation after affects of spending the whole summer touring the US with Wiz Khalifa, a man who once rapped about his weed habit, “I ain’t addicted, I’m committed“. Now the boggle-eyed results are set to appear on film, as the Boys Of Zummer Tour: Live In Chicago is released on Octobr 21, capturing Fall Out Boy’s hit-drenched homecoming show in front of 25,000 fans. We grabbed bassist Pete Wentz to talk festival headlining, their Star Wars fandom and what it’s like when Uma Thurman says your songs are “cute”.
Was Fall Out Boy co-headlining Reading & Leeds a sign that the noughties emo scene is getting respect at last?
“In a weird way, we built slowly and slowly at Reading & Leeds, we’ve played so many slots there before that it’s built over time. It was cool to drive in and see the likes of Nine Inch Nails and Biffy headlining and being like, ‘Maybe there’s potential to get there one day’, but to have that actually happen was pretty fucking ridiculous. We were pretty nervous about it, we planned a brand new show for it and we’d rehearsed it a little bit but when we played it the first time at Leeds it was crazy and getting to play Reading was insane.”
What can you remember about filming theHollywood Casino Amphitheatre gig in Chicago for the DVD?
“It used to be called the World Music Theatre or something like that, my dad saw Jimmy Buffet there about twenty years ago maybe. It was cool to b able to play a hometown show. That stage there is designed to take a stadium show so it’s pretty crazy. I remember lots of RS frequencies, there were so many frequencies going on you could hear it in your ears and monitors, there was so much distortion going on.”
Was it the culmination of the band’s comeback?
“Yeah. We thought we’d be able to come back and play clubs and theatres, so to be able to come back and play a big outside show was pretty cool, especially in our hometown. It felt like the culmination of a long process. To play in front of 25,000 people in your hometown, it’s an intense feeling. We were playing in front of a lot of kids that didn’t know us, about half the crowd were far more familiar with Wiz, so we went out and tried to throw a knockout.”
Do you think you managed to capture the band at its peak?
“I hope not, I hope we haven’t peaked yet! But yeah, it’s a good window into us at the height in Chicago.”
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You put out the song ‘Uma Thurman’ last year. Has she ever responded to it?
“We sent it to her to clear it to make sure she was OK with the song and she was OK with it, I guess, theoretically. I think she said it was ‘cute’ or something. I don’t know how I’d feel if some band had a song called ‘Pete Wentz’, but fortunately my name doesn’t sing very well so I think I’m safe. It’d be weird.”
“They defied expectation multiple times. When ‘Dookie’ broke I remember thinking ‘this is a band that speaks to me, that sounds like me, that looks like me and they’re played on the radio and MTV. They made an odd kid feel like I had a foothold in pop culture. Then with ‘American Idiot’, it came out just at the right time, it was a great critical response to what was happening in our world, and ‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’, can you write a more epic song? There’s a couple but not many. I’ve only heard two songs off the new album and I thought they were great, it was like a return to form, the Green Day that I grew up with. Having us out to induct them into the Rock’n’Roll Hall Of Fame was a pretty big honour, Tre has come out to a couple of shows, which is pretty cool too.”
Would you ever collaborate with Green Day?
“They’re definitely at a level where they call the collaborative shots. If they ever called us up we’d definitely answer the phone!”
You’ve also mentioned the possibility of collaborating with 5 Seconds Of Summer, is anything in the offing?
“I’m sure we’d be open to it if they wanted. I see Michael [Clifford] a lot, his girlfriend is good friends with my girl. At the same time they’re at such a different moment in their career that it might even be more worthwhile for us to just hang out. Having been a person who’s been through the ups and downs of it it’d be cool to just bro down.”
You’re noted Star Wars superfans. What do you make of the Rogue One trailers?
“They look insane. The thing we’ve always seen with Star Wars is that the films we’ve seen up until now are kinda from the Jedi’s perspective so they’re smoother and there’s clarity and an attempt to find balance in the narrative arc and the visual presentation. Rogue One feels like it’s from the soldier’s perspective and it seems way grittier, way more intense. I’m excited. I’m in for anything Star Wars to be honest but this one looks pretty intense and you get to see Vader again. They’re building the Death Star, he’s gotta be in it, he’s the guy who’s Force-choking people if they fuck up the Death Star.”
And finally, the mandatory 2016 question: what are your thoughts on President Trump?
“I’m a futurist, I have a belief that we as a society and culture are going to say that we are going to make a decision based on who is the most qualified. I don’t think as a nation we’re gonna elect somebody who is a reality TV star, I just don’t foresee it happening. At the same time we need to pay attention and people need to get out and vote and be informed because we saw with Brexit and other things, the slope can get very slippery. It can happen.”
The Boys Of Zummer Tour: Live In Chicago, is out on October 21 on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital formats